Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google draw ire of Socialist French tax collectors

“Google Inc., Apple Inc. and other Internet-linked companies may soon feel the long arm of the French taxman,” Helene Fouquet and Marie Mawad report for Bloomberg. “In what may be Europe’s first such effort, President Francois Hollande’s government says it will look into changing laws next year that will block the ability of online companies to pay levies on French earnings in European countries with lower tax rates. The government is also weighing options for common European value-added taxes.”

“Taxing the digital sector like other industries could generate more than 500 million euros ($648 million) for the French state annually, enabling it to narrow its budget deficit, said Philippe Marini, a senator who heads the Senate Finance Committee. Countries across Europe, struggling to bolster government receipts to close budget gaps, are seeking to gather more taxes from companies that hitherto escaped close scrutiny,” Fouquet and Mawad report. “Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook Inc. collectively pay 100 times less tax than the 500 to 600 million euros they should yearly in France, Benoit Tabaka, former secretary-general of France’s Digital Council, told the Senate Economic Commission in January. He said the four companies collectively pay about 4 million euros in French corporate taxes on online revenue of between 2.2 billion euros and 2.5 billion euros. The companies didn’t confirm the numbers. Tabaka left the Council in June to become a policy manager at Google in Paris.”

Fouquet and Mawad report, “French officials say Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook are able to sell to French consumers while not paying the 19.6 percent French VAT. Instead, they pay lower rates in Luxembourg or Ireland, where their EU headquarters are… A Paris-based representative for Apple, which has its European headquarters in Cork, Ireland, declined to comment on its French taxes and revenue. The company sells most of the applications for its products through its online App Store… The debate has become more heated under Hollande as the Socialist president, elected in May, seeks to reconcile stalled economic growth with a promise to cut the budget deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product next year. Hollande’s 2013 blueprint relies on 20 billion euros in increased tax receipts. Budgetary pressure increased after the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said on Nov. 7 that it’s afraid France won’t meet its 2013 target, forecasting a 3.5 percent deficit.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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Apple‘s $74 billion tops list of U.S. tech companies’ overseas cash – July 9, 2012
Apple’s dividend move puts spotlight on foreign cash holdings, repatriation tax reform – March 20, 2012
Apple: Good start; and what about the overseas cash? – March 19, 2012
Apple’s foreign cash hoard piles up: $54 billion and rapidly growing – January 11, 2012
Senator John McCain eyes Apple’s $54 billion overseas cash pile – November 3, 2011
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U.S. companies push for tax break on foreign cash – June 20, 2011
Apple, Oracle, Duke Energy, others organize lobbying blitz for tax holiday – February 17, 2011

84 Comments

        1. And if MichaelK walks like a jackass, and talks like a jackass, then it is an absolute certainty that he is, in fact, a jackass.
          Any American who calls Obama a Socialist shows clearly just how fucked-up their education system is.
          You want an example of a Socialist president?
          I direct your attention to Venezuela, Chavez is a Socialist as it gets.

        2. Didn’t Santorum acknowledge that the Repugs won’t get the educated to vote for them? He was shockingly candid about it. I’m sure you would agree, Michael K. and BLN.

      1. Kind of like that fat f*ck Chris Matthews and his “that’s code” on MSNBC, your typical hypocritical Hollywood a$$hole actors/actresses, Congressional Black Caucus pricks, head up Obama’s azz Democratic hack reporters/journalists and the rest of the Liberal ilk in general, that throw out the word “Racist” at the drop of a hat to anyone who dares to speak against ‘The One’, they also has no idea what they are talking about and isn’t that also “Instant Classification”?… right?

      2. I think Obama’s agenda more closely matches the following:

        Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
        A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
        Abolition of all right of inheritance.
        Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
        Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
        Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
        Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
        Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
        Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.
        Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form and combination of education with industrial production.[14]

      3. Did anyone supporting The One not read his own book!?! The man bragged about surrounding himself with Marxists and radicals in college, and even his cited role models are card carrying commies such as Davis and othes. Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

        And quit calling it socialism – it’s communism by another name!

        Liberty is dead – deal with it!

    1. No, it’s more than that. We socialists want to destroy the very fabric of society. We’ll start with taxing you, BLN. Then, we’ll go after your family ands friends. Then, your associates. Then people who gave never even heard of you. Because we as wicked socialists demand that it be so.

      But… and this is very important.

      We have to be done by 4pm because I have a manicure appointment.

    2. BLN: first, labelling is a juvenile exercise. We have always lived in a mixed economy, and we always will. Do you want to live in a world where every road was tolled and operated by private maximum-profit seeking enterprises? I thought so.

      Next: bravo for the French government. There is absolutely nothing “socialist” about requiring that tax be collected where the sale takes place. It is economic justice.

      1. San Francisco area, including the seven county area, is testing a GPS based mileage tax collection system. Based on the number of miles used a year and the time of day for congestion, you pay from .01 to above .10 per mile used based on traffic conditions- initial program fees. Every car is to have this GPS installed and real time collection. Just to let people know that the public roads will be all toll roads. They are currently in the testing phase. Oh, it will also allow total tracking of time and location data on every auto with this requirement. Just a heads up on the government version of the private toll idea.

        1. Very anti-socialist idea… Everybody pays, based on their use and nothing to do with their ability to pay. User pay. To do that, you need to track everybody.

          Socialist systems are the opposite. The majority pays a base amount through taxation to cover basic use and fees are levied on those that use above and beyond. There’s no need to track what people actually use. Fewer privacy issues are involved.

          Freeways are, in their very nature, very socialist. We all pay for their upkeep and maintenance and construction through taxes, no matter how much we use them. Although some of this is in the form of gasoline taxes at the pump, that would be the overage fee.

          This is deemed by many to be the fair thing to do, because we all benefit from them. Goods we buy travel via freeways.

          Universal Health Care of some sort is somewhat of a contentious issue, but the question is… does EVERYONE benefit? Sure, some are sicker than others, but does everyone benefit from it? That’s a question that everyone needs to ask themselves.

          Stating that a person IS a socialist is silly and standard vitriole. Certain programs are social in nature in that society pays the basic charge for the greater population. Do we really want to go to a USER-PAY system for absolutely everything? There are serious implications to that and it would require a whole lot more tracking than we currently do now.

  1. Those who think big government is a panacea are fools.

    Cutting the wildly overreaching spending is the sane answer, not taxing everyone to death (and after death) to pay for entitlements that the government should never have offered in the first place.

    Socialism does not work.

    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    1. Austerity and low corporate tax rates have not helped Ireland.

      I would rather overspend on a better society where people have more opportunity and security in their lives than overspend on defense contractors and murdering innocent civilians around the world.

        1. The fact that you’re free and not speaking German, Japanese, Russian, or Arabic pinned under some tinpot totalitarian regime would be a “measurable benefit,” would it not?

          1. Off topic much?

            Why do you assume anyone is “free”? All people are enslaved to something: employer for their wage, imaginary guy in the sky for imaginary afterlife; community at large for security and companionship. No one is 100% self-sufficient. Not even you!

            1. So based on your definition, a person living in the US could not quit their job, change their religion or view there of, and move to the wilderness of Montana and live solely off the land if they so choose?

              Glad I don’t live in YOUR U.S.

            2. That’s correct, Transvaluation, no one in the USA or anywhere else can “live off the land”. In most nations, by inheriting British property law, you must first own the land before you “live off” it. Since the majority of us were born penniless, we must earn enough to purchase our homesteads.

              … and as for religion and choice of labor: good luck in freely practicing what you truly want to do. both are shoved down your throat whether you like it or not. Merry Christmas!

            1. You could have learned to speak German to say, “This sucks.” as you are led to the gas chamber.

              You could have learned to speak Arabic to say, “This sucks.” as you are led to be beheaded or stoned.

              You could have learned to speak Russian to say, “This sucks.” as you are led to the gulag.

              You could have learned to speak Japanese to say, “This sucks.” as you are led to the executioner.

              Pussys like you who haven’t the physical strength or mental resolve to serve in the military or naval forces yet live to enjoy the benefits of their sacrifices are the first to mock and condemn these great Americans.

            2. I could have learned to speak English and say “This sucks.” as I am lead to the auction block as a slave in the USA. As far as it goes for DEFENDING myself, I will fight to the death when directly attacked but will not ever ‘go off to Iraq’ to attack an innocent population.

      1. What you call “opportunity,” I call “subsistence existence” or “government slavery.”

        How many generations of U.S. blacks need to be housed in government cages and fed the government cheese until they wake up and see that they are being used and that 95% adherence to one party completely disenfranchises them?

        Hint for U.S. blacks: If you are guaranteed to vote for one party, you are taken for granted. Your views and needs do not need to be listened to, much less acted upon. The Democrats have used and abused you. You are their slaves.

        If the Democrat party has been so good to U.S. blacks, why are more blacks unemployed, incarcerated, and dependent on the government than at any time since the Civil War?

        Government dependency is not success. It is failure.

            1. 1. I’m not talking about you, in particular.
              2. I’m talking about U.S. blacks or African-Americans or whatever the Big Gov’t Handout Lib slaveowners are calling people of color in the U.S. currently.
              3. When you, the black man or woman in general, voices your opinion to your elected Democrat representative, you are ignored. Completely.
              4. You are ignored precisely because your vote is guaranteed.
              5. Until you learn to take a step back and decide whether these government subsistence handouts are really helping you or not — based on decades of blind allegiance to Democrats and where your people are now vs. where they were, say, back when Jimmy Carter or Bubba Clinton were “helping” you — and vote accordingly, you will continue to be ignored.
              6. If you were smart and the GOP were also smart, U.S. blacks would ask the GOP for something important to them and the GOP would move heaven and earth to deliver it. And then the world, especially your world, the U.S. black community, would change significantly for the better. ‘Twas the Republican party of Lincoln that freed the slaves, dear friend.
              7. Keep voting in lockstep for those who ignore you and have not improved, only worsened your communities’ condition through gov’t dependency (disguised slavery), for the last 50+ years, and you will continue to suffer, your pleas and needs ignored.
              8. If your votes are already cast, there is zero need for anyone to work for your votes.

      2. On the other hand, both Canada and Norway bit the bullet and embraced austerity not that long ago. By reducing their debt, both countries are far more solvent than their neighbors.

        Whether it is your budget, your family’s budget or a nation’s, the supply of money is finite. Eventually, for countries such as Spain or Greece, the sovereign debts will crush them. You need only look at Argentina, which spent itself Into bankruptcy as an example of a nation that is living with the consequence of Juan Carlos Medim’s profligate irresponsibility.

        If you have ever lived on the edge of bankruptcy, it’s not pretty. Paying off debt is painful. But once you do, your options are vast. What we are seeing in Europe is a group of nations that got fat and lazy from a socialist lifestyle. It has made many of those nations uncompetitive in a rapidly changing world. To face austerity is like trying to kick a drug addiction, and I do not use that metaphor loosely. As someone with friends who live in Spain and Argentina, they are disgusted by their governments’ lack of will to address a growing threat to their future.

        I for one am concerned that our government, as a product of oth parties in the political class, is taking us down a similar path. It is far easier for a politician to be elected or re-elected by making promises that cannot easily be paid back. Yes we want healthcare for all, and free education. But all of this comes at a price. Punishing the horse that pulls the wagon of the economy won’t make it pull harder in the long run. Eventually, it will stop.

        Sir Winston Churchill once famously said that a nation trying to tax itself into prosperity is akin to standing in a bucket and trying to raise oneself by the handle. Those words still resonate today.

        There is no easy road to prosperity. It means being appropriately frugal, working hard, and creating conditions for an economy to thrive. Being envious of those who became rich does not help. Foolishly thinking that a nation will benefit by punishing those who create jobs is anything but a recipe for success. Sadly, France will soon learn that bitter lesson. I hope it is a harsh lesson that we in the US can avoid with common sense and a commitment to reducing our debt intelligently. If we cannot afford a government program that could bankrupt us, we must take a hard look at its consequences. If we don’t, the consequences will visit us, whether we bury our heads or not.

    1. One doesn’t need to be an “expert” to question some of the math:

      “Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook Inc. collectively pay 100 times less tax than the 500 to 600 million euros they should yearly in France, Benoit Tabaka, former secretary-general of France’s Digital Council, told the Senate Economic Commission in January. He said the four companies collectively pay about 4 million euros in French corporate taxes on online revenue of between 2.2 billion euros and 2.5 billion euros.”

      If revenue is between 2.2B and 2.5B euros, and they say GAAF, (Google Apple, Amazon and Facebook) should be paying between 500M and 600M euros, that works out to about 23% and 24%.

      In the very next paragraph they state that GAAF gets away without paying the French VAT of 19.6%.

      This is all rather strange. What I’d like to know is:

      • Isn’t VAT more like a sales tax, added at the point of sale?
      • Isn’t VAT a uniform rate across the EU?
      • I thought it was corporate tax rates that led GAAF to countries like Ireland and Luxembourg, not VAT rates?
      • If it’s VAT rates that GAAF are avoiding why is one paragraph stating GAAF ius avoiding about 23% to 24% in France, and in the next paragraph we find the VAT is 19.6%?
      • If the article is conflating income taxes with VATs, then tell me what company pays taxes as high as 23% to 24% of sales? Most companies pay that rate on profits, which are just a fraction of sales.

      See, samiam, if MDN readers are skeptical, it may be the article writers are just poor writers and don’t know sales from profits, because the math is not at all clear because it doesn’t seem to add up.

  2. Hey MDN wake up, the world is Socialist. Only in the US is this seen as negative. Looking at the criminality, poverty, obesity and food quality level of your beautiful country, I can’t say you guys have it better. But you guys are blessed. Thank God.

    1. MDN uses Socialist to describe the French government in their headline because the French government is… wait for it… headed by France’s Socialist Party.

      MDN makes no comment, so I fail to see how you can demand that they “wake up” or draw the conclusion that Socialism is “seen as a negative” by its use in the headline and article.

      Perhaps Socialism is “seen as a negative” by some of us becuase we have studied history and seen it fail repeatedly every time it has been tried.

      Socialism does not work.

      Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

      1. MDN could simply have said “French tax collectors”, but it judged important (for whatever reasons) to point out that the Socialist are in power.

        I won’t be surprised if socialism and communism were covered in the same 10 pages chapter of your history book.

        Here’s some facts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality-of-life_Index. You’ll notice many ‘socialist friendly states’ ahead of the US on the list. Which isn’t surprising.

  3. Hey MDN wake up, the world is Socialist. Only in the US is this seen as negative. Looking at the criminality, poverty, obesity and food quality level of your beautiful country, I can’t say you guys have it better. But you guys are blessed. Thank God.

    1. “Monaco has high social insurance taxes payable by both employer and employee. The employer’s contribution is between 28%–40% (averaging 35%) of gross salary including benefits and the employee pays a further 10%–14% (averaging 13%)”. Although they don’t have any income tax, they have high “social” taxes and 19.6% VAT (same as France)

  4. hmmm … socialist in the white house… taxing people to death and afterwards….. those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it …..

    so obama wants to raise taxes on the top earners up to what ? something like 37 % ? – oh! the horror !!

    anybody around here old enough to remember the mid to late1950’s ? back when dwight eisenhower – a highly respected and beloved REPUBLICAN was president and the top marginal rate was about 90% ? (look it up)

    gee,was that how we managed to have a balanced budget, fight the cold war and still manage to build the us freeway system ???

    maybe there is a little history somebody could learn from…

    1. Do the math, moron.

      Raise taxes on everybody in the U.S. making over making over $1 million a year to 30% like Obama wants and you generate $46.7 billion over the next 10 years (source: non-partisan United States Congress Joint Committee on Taxation). Or $4.67 billion per year on average.

      The estimated $46.7 billion would reduce by 0.7 percent the $6.4 trillion increase in spending over the next 10 years estimated by the Congressional Budget Office, based on Obama’s 2013 budget plan. The 2013 budget proposed by the Obama administration stated that the Buffett Rule should replace the Alternative Minimum Tax. The Joint Committee on Taxation calculated that the Buffett Rule plus the repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax would increase the deficit by $793.3 billion in the next 10 years.

      The U.S. debt is currently $16.164 trillion. That’s trillion, with a “T.” Obama’s “plan” (class warfare to scare up votes) generates $46.7 billion over 10 years (before you subtract the negative impact on the economy of job creators not creating as many, or any, jobs, or even deciding to leave the U.S. altogether).

      Now, dummy, bend over and shove the “Buffett Rule” up your ass sideways because you’re so stupid (and obscenely gullible) that you might as well serve some purpose and make the rest of us laugh, at least.

  5. Those damn socialist French. How dare they give every one…
    – FREE college
    – FREE medical care (like Canada and UK, it includes non-native civil partners, and they will give you cash for your bus, taxi or petrol to get home)
    – FREE house call MDs
    – FREE medicine
    – 5 weeks PAID vacation
    – PAID family leave days
    – PAID unlimited sick days when prescribed by a physician (can be months if necessary – they think telling someone they can only be sick for 3 days is barbaric – they’re right)
    – FREE day care and domestic home care
    – Maximum 35 hour work week!

    Ok – I lied, some of the medical services could have a €1 visit co-pay or a €120 fee for surgery (if it is not already exempt for age, low income, etc.)

    It must be a horrid place to live!

    This all came about because the PEOPLE were in charge of their government, not corporations or dictators. It’s the US corporations that are feeding you the lies.

    True story: I was visiting relatives in Canada and sprained my wrist. It was getting swollen. I went to a clinic, and was seen right away. All I gave them was my name and where I lived. Maybe it was because I was 40 miles from the border, but no questions were asked. My wrist was x-rayed, an Ace bandage applied, and given a prescription for 1 week of pain killers. There was no place to pay a bill anywhere. I was told by my cousin to just walk out. We went to the pharmacist (chemist), he was about to fill then asked me where i lived. I thought “Damn, caught!” I told him the US, he smiled and said, “Ok, here’s 2 weeks worth for the trip home. That’s $5”

    Yea, it must be hell to deal with that every day. How do they tolerate it?

    1. The French are fscking broke, idiot. We’ll see how long the freebies last – and how the dependent French leeches act when it all goes down the shitter (see: Greece – preferably before it burns to the ground).

      There is no such thing as a free lunch.

      1. USA is broke because of the ridiculously big military spending. You spend almost the same in to weapons as the rest of the world put together. In Europe, Canada and world around we try to first take care of our people. Socialism is not the problem in the Greece. It is their politicians who promise things and kept on borrowing money for those promises. Never wanted to pay anything. They have had socialist and rightwing governments after each other so this applies to all of their politicians.

      2. You Yanks are funny.
        Whilst France is lead by a President from the Socialist Party, France, like the U.K., much of Europe, Australia and New Zealand is a socialised democracy, not a socialist country. There is quite a distinct difference. Think of it as applying the best ideals of socialism to a capitalist economy.
        The U.S. on the other hand much more like the laissez-faire capitalism of most peoples nightmares.
        Australia has universal health care, universal education, a welfare safety net, and a progressive tax system which aims to ensure that those that can afford to pay more, do pay more.
        Australia is lead by a female, atheist, Prime Minister from the Socialist Left faction of the governing Labor Party who is in a defacto relationship and she doesn’t believe in marriage. We are also one of the richest and strongest economies in the world, with a standard of living second only to Norway (another socialised democracy) and personal wealth up there with the top few.
        If you think Obama and the Democrats are socialist, you really are delusional.

    2. France is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, just like Greece and Spain, and possibly Ireland are. Incontrovertible fact; I suggest you make an effort to look up the true financial situation there, before trumpeting a load of fallacies on here.

    3. Because it is free for you (the end user) doesn’t mean it is free for everyone else in that chain. Those doctors get paid. Those medical supplies and drugs cost money (someone pays for it).

      Free healthcare and what not sounds great but the money comes from somewhere. Because you pay little or nothing doesn’t mean that I the true cost of the product or service.

  6. Now don’t you Europeans go around bitching about the price disparity on your version of the online Apple store at Apple.com versus someone else, okay!

    You get the government you vote for!

    1. It is not our government that sets the Apple Store prices. It is Apple and then our government sets the VAT for that. Your prices are without taxes so sometimes people really thinks that it is much cheaper in the US.

  7. Socialism doesn’t work. History has shown it. I don’t want to pay for the healthcare of every bastard baby in the projects so they can grow up to vote for a socialist dictator who enables stupid people to procreate. Paying for yourself is the responsible and successful way to go. If you don’t have good healthcare find a job that pays well enough to pay for your own healthcare. If you can’t find a job, you didn’t prepare yourself well enough when you had the chance. Don’t expect us to pick up the bill for your irresponsible and unguided youth. My plan is called, “leave as many children behind as it f@cking takes”!

    1. Isn’t that the truth!

      And don’t forget about the group that believe the government [taxpayers] should pay for their college education?

      Sad truth is. For most, college is a waste of money, and does nothing but burden them with debt. But like the Best Buy blue-shirt employee, you can’t tell them anything because they know it all.

    2. Government controlled communism doesn’t work. However, democracy (which is rule by the common, not the incorporated) is the best system we know so far.

      Lack of affordable healthcare and affordable education for all doesn’t PREVENT people from having babies. Studies have shown over and over that people who are presented with opportunities and education have FEWER children, not more. Interesting factoid: Canada (similar culture to the USA), Japan (close ties to the USA) and Cuba all have lower birth rates than the USA. They all have different forms of socialized health care.

      Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

      Tell an uneducated man he can choose between buying a fish or paying for fishing lessons and he will always choose the short-term solution and buy a fish.

      In the UK they have an interesting program. If your parents didn’t go to University, you can apply for grants to have your tuition paid for. That’s a great way to help people get out of the rut they’re in and raise the standard of living for the nation as a whole.

      1. A Democracy is nothing more than government based on the masses. When the voice of 51 people can silence 49, you have nothing more than mobocracy. And just as has happened here in the US, the rule of law is displaced by the rule of men based on the will of the majority. Hence, the reason the founders chose a republican (not to be confused with the party) form of government. Sadly, the american people squandered and pissed that one away.

      2. Having a lower birth rate doesn’t equate to better. If the birth rate is too low a country can’t maintain or increase its population like Japan which has one of the lowest birth rates in the OECD and a declining population. FYI education is not free in Japan. Really Cuba?! you are going to cite Cuba that’s just funny.
        Also most of the top universities in the world are American.

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